Saturday, 28 January 2017

Monaco's royals celebrate their saint

Albert, Charlene, Gabriella and Jacques get ready to wave
(Palais Princier Facebook)

It's a day dedicated to St Devote but in 2017 it was almost as much about Jacques and Gabriella. The royal twins of Monaco attended the celebrations for their country's saint's day for the first time and stole the show. Again. Jacques and Gabriella showed, on this special day in Monaco, that they've really got the hang of this royal thing.

The twins were safely tucked up in bed on the evening of January 26th when the traditional festivities got under way. Their mum and dad attended a church service on January 26th, the eve of the feast of St Devote.

They then took part in the traditional procession which involves setting fire to a boat - an event first documented to have taken place in the 19th century.

St Devote's story tells that she was martyred around the year 303 and her remains were placed on a boat by fellow Christians to be taken to safety in Africa. But they were blown off course and ended up in what is now Monaco. The traditional celebrations held on the eve of her feast are always popular events, especially with Princess Charlene who seems to hold them particularly dear, and the royal couple were at their heart again this year looking particularly cuddly and close.

There were more comments about their loved up state the following day when they attended a church service marking the feast of Monaco's saint. Devote's Day is January 27th and there was also a procession past the Prince's Palace which Albert and Charlene watched.

Then it was time for the other stars of the show. Gabriella and Jacques, who turned two in December, joined mum and dad for an appearance on the balcony and suddenly all eyes were on them.

That may be because this was a very toddler balcony appearance. After a few polite smiles and waves, the twosome made for the floor to peer through balcony columns.

Jacques also tried to grab his dad's nose while Gabriella was having none of that being held by mum or dad nonsense and just made off.

The royal twins of Monaco have played a big part in their country's life in the last few months, following on from the pattern their parents set early on of giving them a role in major events from a very early age.

The feast of St Devote is one of the most important days in Monaco and has a huge place in its cultural and social history as well as its religious life. Devota became patron saint of Monaco during the reign of Honore II - one of the princes whose name is carried by Jacques who is in line, one day, to rule Monaco. As he and his sister learn all about royal life, being stars of the show on the Day of St Devote is about as important as it gets for Monaco's royals.

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